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Transition 2012

A guide to foreign policy and the 2012 U.S. presidential transition.

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Tracking the Issues: Gingrich Says Afghanistan Is Not Fixable

by Newsteam Staff
February 28, 2012

Afghan protesters shout anti-U.S. slogans in Herat, February 23, 2012. (Mohammad Shoib/Courtesy Reuters)


GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said Monday that the United States is facing an insurmountable challenge in Afghanistan (AJC). “We are not going to fix Afghanistan,” he said. “It is not possible. These are people who have spent several thousand years hating foreigners. And what we have done by staying is become the new foreigners.” Gingrich’s remarks came amid continued violent protests in Afghanistan over the burning of Qurans at Bagram Airfield. Over the weekend, Romney said on Fox News that the United States should focus on helping Afghanistan’s government improve security so it can fend off attacks from the Taliban.

This New York Times article provides details on the letter President Obama sent to Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai in which he apologized for the Quran burnings. “I extend to you and the Afghan people my sincere apologies,’’ he wrote, adding he planned to hold those responsible accountable. The full text of the letter was not released.

For more information about the candidates’ positions on Afghanistan check out CFR’s Issue Tracker on Afghanistan.

Suggested Other Reading:

CFR’s Stephen Biddle examines the limited options available to the winner of the 2012 election on how to affect the military solution in Afghanistan in this Campaign 2012 video.

A new CFR Analysis Brief looks whether the U.S.-Afghan partnership and the mission in Afghanistan has a chance in the aftermath of Quran burnings.

This al-Jazeera article looks at Afghanistan’s economy and finds that its heavy reliance on foreign aid remains a concern.

–Contributing Editor Liriel Higa

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